Nikon D750 Review – Nikon’s Best DSLR Yet?

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Over the last few years, Nikon has introduced a number of enthusiast or semi-professional grade cameras in the “full frame” or FX format.  These cameras include the D800, D800E, DF, D600, D610, D810 and now the D750, which is an excellent camera, capable of capturing amazing images!

First Take – Background

In general, all of these cameras were designed to fit a segment of the market between the consumer grade cameras, which are based upon a cropped sensor that is known as the DX format and Nikon’s flagship full frame professional camera, which is now the D4S.  This gap was previously filled by the Nikon D700, which was first introduced in 2008 and produced the identical images to the flagship camera at the time, the D3, but in a smaller, lighter and cheaper package.

Although still a very capable camera, there was strong consumer demand for an upgrade to the D700 offering increased performance to match the advances in sensor and autofocus technology, increased processing power, as well as the ability to shoot video.  As a result, the D800 and D800E were first introduced followed by the DF, which is a full frame camera with a “retro” look.  Next the D600, which is a budget full-frame camera, was introduced and then the D610 and D810, which were relatively minor upgrades to the D600 and D800.

While each of these cameras represented incremental improvements, all of these cameras had serious drawbacks, including a poor auto-focus system; the inability to process large files quickly, heavy weight and high cost.  In many ways none of these cameras were able to provide a better overall package than the D700, which despite being 6 years old, is still highly regarded.  The D750 has changed that!  Finally Nikon has provided the market what they wanted all along, which is a highly advanced camera with the best of the best available technology in a light weight and affordable body.

The Nikon D750 In Depth

What is unique about the D750 is that it borrows heavily from the best and most technologically advanced cameras in the Nikon lineup, including the D810 and the flagship D4S, while introducing new features unique to the D750.   The two most important technological advances incorporated into the D750 are the new autofocus system and the EXPEED 4 processor, both of which are found in the D4S and D810.

  • Autofocus System: The new autofocus system works well in low light conditions and has the ability to nail focus dead on in even dark conditions.  The new processor was able to quickly process high-resolution images quickly, while not excessively draining the camera’s battery, which previously was a challenge with Nikon cameras shooting high megapixel images.  The D750 does not hunt for the proper focus and it can quickly process files, making the camera faster than previous cameras.
  • Megapixels: While some may be concerned that the D750 only has 24.4 megapixels, it is important to remember that the flagship of the Nikon professional lineup, the D4S only has 16.4 megapixels.  In most cases, photographers will step down the resolution of their photographs in order to save space on the SD card as well as their computer hard drive.  In short, 24.4 megapixels are more than enough!
  • Weight and Design: One of the most appealing features of the D750 is the low weight and compact size of the camera.   The low weight is a result of Nikon using magnesium covers on the top and back of the camera only.  The front and bottom of the camera has high strength carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic covers, which are also lightweight.  While the size is physically compact, the camera is comfortable to hold for long periods of time.  It is also well balanced when using primes lenses and small zoom lenses, such as the 24-130 VR kit lens.
  • Presets: One of the most useful features that Nikon put into the D750 is the U1 and U2 setting, which first appeared on the D7000, which is a DX format camera, several years ago.   This allows the photographer to save two custom settings into the camera that can be instantly accessed by simply twisting a knob on the tope of the camera. While the D750 has 54 custom settings available in the menu, as well as the ability to select a number of pre-determined scene modes, the ability to instantly access the two settings most often used, by turning a knob is quicker and easier than navigating a menu.  Photographers switching back and forth from color to black and white will find this feature convenient.
  • Display: One of the new innovations used on the D750 is the swivel LCD on the rear of the camera.  The LCD can be tiled up 130 degrees and down 90 degrees.  Many videographers and filmmakers using the D750 for video work will find this to be a useful feature, especially when the camera is mounted to a tripod.  It is important to be aware that the LCD screen does not swivel from side to side and does not rotate 180 degrees.  As with any camera with a LCD screen that is not fixed, care must be taken when rotating the screen not to damage the camera as the pivot point of the screen is the weakest point and can be broken if the camera is not handled properly.
  • WiFi: The D750 has Wi-Fi built into the camera, which allows images to be geo-tagged.  In addition, the Wi-Fi will allow the camera to communicate with a variety of smart phones and tablets using the Apple or Android operating system.  All that is required is to download the appropriate “app” onto the device.  One of the uses of this feature would be to see the “live-view” from the camera on a phone or tablet.  The photographer can also fire the shutter from their device as well.
  • Special Effects: Another unique feature of the D750 is the ability of the camera to shoot in a number of special effects modes.  This feature has previously only been found in Nikon’s DX series of cameras. Want a fisheye effect, but do not own a fisheye lens?  Go into the camera’s menu and select the effect and you have the fisheye effect on the image!

While some camera users look at image quality over technical specifications, many feel that the specifications are equally important.  The Nikon D750 has excellent image quality as technical specifications, which are shown in the table below.

Nikon D750 Key Features – At a Glance

 

Item Nikon D750
Year Introduced 2014
Format FX  / DX / 1.2x Crop
Megapixels 24.3 Million
Sensor Type CMOS
Processor EXCEED 4
Image Format RAW or JPG
Sensor Size 35.9mm x 24mm
Sensor Cleaner Yes, Ultrasonic
Autofocus Points 51 With 15 Cross Type
Modes Aperture Priority (A), Manual (M), Shutter Priority (S) and Program (P)
Metering 3D Color Matrix Metering III
View Finder Coverage 100%
Live View Yes
Frames Per Second 6.5
ISO 100-12,500
Lowest Expandable ISO H-1 (ISO 50)
Highest Expandable ISO H-2 (ISO 51,200)
Shutter Speed Range 1/4000 – 30 Seconds
Built In Flash Yes
Card Slots 2
Card Type SD, SDHC or SCXC
LCD Size 3.2”
LCD Fixed or Swivel Swivel
Virtual Horizon Yes
Video Yes
Video Type Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 / 60 FPS
Internal Autofocus Motor Yes
GPS Yes
Wireless Yes
Wi-Fi Yes
Battery Rechargeable  EN-EL 15
Battery Life, Photographs Only Up to 1,230 Shots
Unique Features Tilt Screen, U1 and U2 Settings
Size Without Lens 5.3” x 4.2” x 3.0”
Weight Without Lens 26.5 oz.
Manufactured In Thailand
Body Only or with Kit Lens Sold Either Way
Included Accessories MH-25a Charger, UC-E17 USB Cable, AN-DC14 Strap, BF-1B Body cap, DK-5 Eye Piece Cap, DK-21 Rubber Eyecup and Nikon View NX-2 CD-Rom
Cost, Body Only $2,299.95
Cost With 24-130 VR Kit Lens $2,999.95

*Information from Nikon USA website, including pricing.

Overall Recommendation? Yes or No?

The D750 is in many ways the best camera that Nikon has released since the D700 in 2008.  The other cameras in Nikon’s enthusiast or semi-professional line up were in many ways, subpar stepping-stones to get to the D750, which represents the best overall package of any of Nikon’s DSLR cameras.  The D750 has the ability to produce extremely high quality images, even in low light with high ISO settings, which amateur and professional photographers alike will appreciate.  This coupled with a reasonable price point is what the market has wanted all along to replace the D700.

If you are looking to save some money, this listing has been having great deals on the D750.

In the past, a D700 coupled with a MB-D10 battery and vertical grip was considered by many to be the “poor man’s” D3.  Today and in the future a D750 coupled with a MB-D16 battery and vertical grip will be considered a “smart photographer’s “ D4S, as the performance of the D750 is in many ways superior to the D4s and costs $4,000 less.  Well-done Nikon!

Nikon D750

8.4

Speed and Viewfinder

8.4/10

ISO Performance

8.0/10

Image Quality and Accuracy

8.5/10

Handling and Build Quality

8.0/10

Value for the Money

8.9/10

Pros

  • Good value for the money
  • Greatly improved over predecessors
  • Good for amateurs and pros alike
  • Comes with U1 and U2 presets
  • Well rounded with no weak points

Cons

  • Swivel display is more easily broken
  • Shorter micro USB cord than previous versions
  • Has had some lens flare complaints from other customers but not noticed in my trial
Robert Alexander
 

A camera geek and freelance photographer, Robert (Aka "Rob" or "Bob") spends way too much time examining the finer points of cameras.

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